All Along The Watchtower
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth
Following the panoramic, maximalist explosion of his mid-'60s work, Dylan began to pare back the pyrotechnics on 1968's John Wesley Harding, turning in a set of stripped-down folk allegories that bear the clear imprint of Talmudic and Biblical parables. On "All Along The Watchtower," he sketches the outlines of a corrupt world on the precipice of collapse. While businessmen seeking only profit insensibly strip away the beauty of nature, "two riders" lay in wait, prepared to lay waste to a world that no longer knows to value itself. This was not Dylan's first invocation of Revelation as warning, and it would be far from his last, but rarely does folk music feel this omniscient and ominous.